New OpenOffice On Deck


The OpenOffice 1.1 release candidate is now available.

The software, which can be downloaded from OpenOffice.org, supports Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris.

Enhancements to the open-source productivity suite include support for PDF and XHTML exports and improved compatibility with Microsoft Office, according to the OpenOffice Web site. The new release, for example, will support forms conversion within Word documents and import text document layouts with more fidelity. OpenOffice 1.1 also boasts enhanced support for mobile device formats such as Palm's AportisDoc, Pocket Word and Pocket Excel.

OpenOffice 1.0 has been available since May 2002. (See story.)

While there is a lot of interest in Microsoft Office alternatives--especially among the open-source community--it's unclear if any of these variations is making headway against Office in mainstream businesses. Microsoft itself has delayed Office 2003, which was supposed to have debuted in June, until the late summer or fall.

Sun Microsystems offers StarOffice, a commercial cross-platform office suite based on the same core code as OpenOffice.

A wild card in the Office wars is IBM, which plans to offer server-based word processing, spreadsheet and presentation functionality to buyers of its WebSphere portal. At the very least, that could allow large customers to negotiate better Microsoft Office pricing/licensing, observers said. (See IBM Plans Sneak Attack On Microsoft Office.)